The master of arts in leadership is designed for working professionals and provides a deep foundation of problem-based learning about leadership from many different perspectives. The program is entirely online. Participants can expect to finish the program in two years.

The master of arts can be applied to any field and is designed to help individuals explore how they are called to lead and can enhance their own ability to navigate personal leadership challenges. All participants will be mentored and will receive a high level of faculty support as they progress through the program.  The culmination of the master’s degree will be a capstone experience in which students enhance their leadership portfolios, implement (or further implement) a project within an organizational context, and demonstrate learning through a written product that integrates knowledge with courses.

Program Benefits

Advance your career

Earn a master's degree

Create a summative portfolio of work

Grow leadership abilities

Sharpen professional skills

Collaborate with a faculty mentor

Complete the program in two years

Implement a project within an organizational context

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

By requesting information or applying you are providing expressed consent for Wartburg College to contact you.
There is no obligation to enroll.


Wartburg College defines leadership as “taking responsibility for our communities and making them better through public action.”  Community, in this context, can be broadly defined to include employment community, a spiritual community, and a geographic community, etc. Understanding the relationship of your role in various communities is critical for personal satisfaction and effective leadership. 

  • Apply online through our free graduate application.
  • Submit an undergraduate transcript from a regionally accredited college/university.
  • Submit an online essay.
  • Submit letters of recommendation.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university.
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00* from degree-granting college/university.
  • A personal statement (1-3) pages which addresses the following topics:
            – Your education and professional experience and how this has prepared you for graduate study in leadership.
            – Your personal reflection on what makes you a good candidate for an advanced degree in leadership.
            – A basic overview of a change you’d like to see in your workplace or organization of interest and how this program might assist you in implementing that change.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume including any relevant educational and professional experience.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional references that must be received directly from references.  One letter should address the student’s leadership capabilities and ability to create positive change.  One letter should address the student’s ability to manage multiple priorities and be successful in academic pursuits.

*Students may be admitted on provisional status with a lower GPA.  Students on provisional status must obtain at least a 3.00 GPA after their first fall or winter term.

The program is designed to help individuals explore how they are called to lead and how they can enhance their own ability to navigate personal leadership challenges. The program will place a strong emphasis on application of the material in an applied setting (for example, the learner’s place of employment), starting with identifying and sharing a leadership challenge they are facing. Various course assignments and portfolio artifacts will be developed pertinent to the applied setting. The program will offer mentoring and a high level of support for individuals as they progress through the program.

Financing Your Education

There are many ways to finance your master’s degree at Wartburg. Below are some additional options students should consider:

  • U.S. Department of Education Loans – Students in the Master of Arts in Leadership program are eligible to apply for educational loans through the U.S. Department of Education. Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans are available. Click here for a brochure from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Veteran Benefits/G.I. Bill – The Master of Arts in Leadership program is VA benefits eligible through the GI Bill. Click here for details from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Employer Support – Consider visiting with your employer about the possibility of financially supporting your education. Many employers offer partial or even full financial support for graduate programs. If your employer is a Learning Alliance member, employees and their spouses receive a 10 percent tuition discount for graduate study.
  • Graduate Assistantships – Wartburg is launching a PILOT graduate assistantship model in 2024-2025 that will cover the cost of graduate tuition and provide a monthly stipend for those selected for these roles.  For currently available graduate assistants positions visit
  • Alumni Scholarship – Wartburg College alumni are eligible for a 20% discount on the cost of tuition.

The construction of a portfolio throughout the course offerings will serve as formative and summative documentation, which provides an integrative framework to the program as a whole. Each course contains assignments that comprise parts of the overall portfolio. Each learner will build a summative portfolio over the course of the program with advising from instructors.

Upon completion of the master’s degree, the learner will have demonstrated the following abilities and attributes:

  • Express a personal leadership identity, maximizing on personal effectiveness. 
  • Analyze complex environments and the need for change. 
  • Evaluate the role innovation and entrepreneurship play in organizational effectiveness within economic, social and political environments.
  • Develop knowledge, skills and commitments that foster stewardship of human and material resources. 
  • Translate the leadership development process through the creation of a portfolio reflective of the leadership journey. 
  • Articulate reflective analyses on what it means to live a life of purpose, distinguishing a life of success and a life of significance.
Leadership Intensive Seminar: Integrating Mind, Body, Spirit
Communication Theory and Ethics
Leadership History and Theory
Inclusive Leadership
Leadership Resource Management
Portfolio Summary and Leadership Intensive
Understanding Adaptive Issues
Leadership Organizational Change and Innovation
Applied Leadership Project
Leadership Capstone

Courses are developed in a condensed/accelerated format that allows students to take courses primarily one course at a time.

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Tuition Guarantee
You will pay the same tuition price from your first class to your last class.
2024-26 Cohort Tuition: $2,400/course credit
2023-25 Cohort Tuition: $2,300/course credit

Master of Arts: $2400 per course
Leadership Certificate: $2400 per course
Summary of Charges (PDF)

Kassy Grosser
Director of Graduate Program Operations
(319) 352-8511


Michael Gleason

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies/Director of the Institute for Leadership Education

Ashley Lang

Business Owner and Leadership Consultant

Theresa Moore

Assistant Director of the Institute for Leadership Education

Penni Pier

Professor of Journalism and Communication

Amy Pilcher

Associate Professor of Business Administration